At 65

Why after years in corporate sales did I ever get the urge to minimalize my life? What was so wrong with new electronics, clothes, cars, kitchen appliances, gadgets, gizmos, stuff everywhere?  I had the career to support my habit, I wasn’t excessive in my debt (by my standards those days).  I had enough disposable income to satisfy nearly whatever whim I had for shopping.  $60 Foundation and $30 lipstick? No issue, why not? New phone every 6 months? Business expense.

Nagging me though, in the back of my mind, was the feeling that I was not truly happy, and that my purchases were just temporary rushes.

Around time Kon-Mari was sweeping the nation, I ran across a Facebook group for The Minimalists (theminimalists.com)- a couple former tele-com guys who left the corporate world behind for a life of less stuff, and more experience and contributing something meaningful to society.

I found it very easy to relate to them because of my shared experience in tele-com, starting in sales, working up into management, managing a territory of 12 stores at one point.   And similar to them, I was burnt out, overweight, unhappy in my marriage, unavailable for my son, and glued to a never ending series of phone calls and emails.

I thought at night, is this all there is? When I am 65 and look back, is this how I want to remember my life?  I asked the same questions when looking at my marriage to an abusive spouse- at 65, was it going to be worth it to stay with him? Would anything change?  To both questions, the answer was a glaring No- the life I was living was not the life I wanted to have.  And it was my choice to make a change.

My conversion to a more minimalist lifestyle has not been easy, and there is no end to the journey that I can see.  Every day brings new challenges, new ideas on what to downsize, or what no longer fits my needs or my life.    For example: when I now shop for a new phone, I list the specific features I need, and which can do the job the best; its not always the latest and greatest phone.  I still ‘shop’ phones, I can’t help it.  But I no longer feel that insatiable need to have the newest, or multiple phones, to use.

My best advice to get you started, that helped me is to ask yourself:

  1. Is this how I want my life to look like when I am older?
  2. What are the potential outcomes if I leave life ‘as is’? Pros and Cons
  3. Can I find areas I can change in myself (since changing others around you is not possible without their express desire and intent to do so).

It will not change you life overnight, but it will get you thinking about what you really want life to look like.  There are plenty of resources online to help you get started- I would recommend the Minimalists, and from there, finding other groups on Facebook to join to see how others are shaping their lives.

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